About Me

Subscribe now!Feeds RSS


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gladwellian Anticipation


Today Malcolm Gladwell's new book Outliers arrives at my door (or in my lobby as it were). I have read both Blink and Tipping Point and have read the majority of his lectures and New Yorker articles. I am admittedly smitten with Mr. Gladwell.

One reason for my brain crush is Gladwell's uncanny ability to live in the tension of our humanity. For example, in Tipping Point his theory was all about how one individual, taking advantage of connectors and mavens, can create social networks that change the world. In Tipping Point it began and ended with the individual's influence. In Outliers he starts at the other end. He argues that people’s opportunity to empower global change, while partly driven by talent and hard work, is largely structured by external opportunities and environments. As he explains, "My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is. When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It's because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances— and that means that we, as a society, have more control about who succeeds—and how many of us succeed—than we think."

Not too many authors would publish a book that runs the risk of belittling all that has been said in his previous material. I don't imagine that Outliers makes Tipping Point irrelevant, but it does seem to provide balance to his previous works and give us a more realistic picture of the world we live in. A world in which our success is more about our interrelatedness than our personal will power.

But I haven't even read a page yet, so I'll let you know when I'm done.

Do you have any suggestions? Add your comment. Please don't spam!
Subscribe to my feed
Derrick Fudge said...

I am incredibly excited, yet a little worried about this next book. I have read all his stuff, and I would definitely say that I view the word threw gladwellian glasses.

Reading his books leads to a series of "thinking depressions" the first where I am depressed because I have been wrong for so long, the second because now I have new ideas about what to do but don't know what to do about them.

I think what I really need is an entire class where we all discuss the book and try to actually do what he is talking about. so, mr. ambitious, you become a professor and start teaching the class, and I will sign up

Post a Comment